If you’re looking for something different then search this one out. Vincent Price stars as Gilbert De Quincey a man caught up in the Tong wars in 1902 San Francisco. The movie is loaded with action including narrow escapes, secret passages and a great sequence with Price on opium. The movie is based on the autobiography of Thomas De Quincey written in 1821.
The movie starts off with a bang as the Tongs fight it out on a beach as a load of girls are being brought in. De Quincey goes to the shop of Ching Foon (Philip Ahn) to look for Ruby Low (Linda Ho). She wants him to find an escaped slave girl who was rescued by crusading newspaper editor George Wah (Richard Loo).
When De Quincey finds out how evil the auctions are he turns good guy and wants to break it up. In running through secret passages in the late Wah’s office he sees the girl. All of a sudden she lets out a scream. Men are coming through the window. De Quincey and the girls escape in an elevator to the sewer below. Later he encounters two women in cages. One is a midget (Yvonne Moray). She’s going to come to his rescue more than once.
De Quincey wants to get past the room where the girls are being prepared for the auction. The midget causes a distraction that allows him to get through. The movie’s best sequence takes place when De Quincey goes into an opium den. He’s forced to smoke the pipe and that leads to a nightmare. When he comes out of it he makes his escape. It starts in silence and slow motion and continues like a hallucination. It’s very well done.
He ends up a prisoner of Ruby Low…but not for long. Thanks to the midget he’s off and running. He does get trapped in a cage and is watched over by the den master in a room next to the auction. While the girls are presented to the bidders the midget comes to his rescue again.
As De Quincey and the midget make their escape things take a bad turn in the auction room. The movie at times is like a fast moving 1930’s serial and is fun to watch. Yvonne Moray is excellent as the midget. Not surprisingly she also appeared in “The Wizard Of Oz” and “The Terror Of Tiny Town.”